Packing ~ theatre notes

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Packing

Tickets, check. Passport, check. Itinerary, check. iPhone A-Z, check. Ms TN is a traveler who likes to know where her towel is, and most particularly wants maps, even if she has a record of holding them upside down and striding optimistically in exactly the wrong direction. (I'm hoping the GPS thing on the iPhone will make this less likely.) But at last I'm feeling more or less prepared.

As some of you will know, earlier this year I won the Australian Poetry Centre's International Poetry Tour ("international" meaning England, Scotland and Ireland), which is an initiative funded by the Australia Council and launched for the first time this year. Practically every poet in Australia applied for this one, and to say I was surprised to get it is an understatement. From next week, I and my fellow winner, Sydney poet Robert Gray, will be spreading the word on Australian poetry to a variety of northern hemisphere persons; but I am looking forward most of all to a week's "writing time" in the Lake District at Dove Cottage, which was Wordsworth's house in Grasmere. (Or, to be exact, I'll be in picturesque lodgings 50 metres from Dove Cottage, as well as doing a reading and a chat about Australian poetry with its present resident, Emma Jones). A list of my appearances is on the Salt blog, and there's a poetical biography on my website for those who like some background. If any of you are anywhere nearby any of my readings, it would be brilliant to see you there.

On the down side, it means that I am missing the Melbourne Festival. So this weekend I am doing a bit of hobnobbing: last night, the festival's opening night, I saw Lally Katz's The Apocalypse Bear Trilogy at the MTC's Lawler Studio (don't miss it) and tonight I'm booked for Sascha Waltz's Medea, an opera/dance piece based on Heiner Müller's Medeamaterial. Aside from any other things I can fit in, like Peter Greenaway's multimedia piece on Leonardo's Last Supper, that will be it. I'm sorry to be missing the buzz, although I admit there's certainly a lining to the cloud.

I'll also be taking the time to do some reflecting. Over the past few months, it's become very clear to me that TN is unsustainable. I love doing this, but it eats me up; and I can't delude myself any more that it isn't at the expense of my own work. I haven't finished a single project now for more than 18 months, and that is beginning to weigh heavy. I'll be considering a number of options, but I might as well warn you that one of them is ceasing blogging (if not theatre going) altogether next year. Reading Roberto Bolaño's extraordinary 2666 recently reminded me again how much I love the form of the novel; and it pricked my conscience, yet again, about my own unfinished folly, The Gilded Man (extracted here), which has been languishing since 2001. Not to mention a number of other stalled projects, at last count four, which I dearly want to complete.

I might blog while I'm away, but I may not. I'll certainly be uploading responses to the two Melbourne Festival shows I'm able to see. In the meantime, au revoir. I'll be back in mid-November.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I completely understand.

Geoffrey said...

Just as there is always a time to begin, there is always a time to end.

George Hunka said...

Indeed. On both counts.

Chris T said...

Sometimes you gotta take a break. Sometimes you gotta walk away. Whatever your decision- thanks.

Christine B said...

Hope you have a great trip, Alison - I'm sure your fellow poet will be very good company indeed.

Will certainly miss the blog - thanks heaps! - but understand that sometimes you've just gotta get your priorities in order.

Looking forward to seeing Apocalypse Bear during our trip to Melbourne.

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks guys. And yes, Robert is a lovely man, so it will be very pleasant to tour with him.

As I said, I'm going to think about various options. Stopping the blog altogether is only one, but I realised I have to consider it. The only sure thing is that I can't keep producing it as I have been these past years. I've not thought about stopping until recently, no matter how difficult it has been to keep it up; and to be honest, the reasons to keep going haven't changed substantially. However, I don't want to make any decisions hastily, which is why this time away is very fortuitous.

Anonymous said...

This blog will certainly be missed if you choose to close it, Alison. It has been a joy to read discusions from so many viewpoints. Some as thoughtful as yours- some downright weird!The theate world needs something like this to keep us engaged in analysis. However, I understand your need for a break. I have often been in awe at the time you have given to reviewing and then dealing with dialogues that ensued. All the best
Josephine

David Mence said...

Have a great trip Alison.

Dove Cottage and the surrounds are lovely; I was there couple of years ago. Perfect spot to summon up the ghosts of WW and Coleridge and perhaps a tipple of rosy coloured laudanum with De Quincey (with a volume of German metaphysics).

Long is the road and hard that out of blog leads up to prose (or poetry).

Best wishes,

David

Marcelle Schmitz said...

Good luck Alison, and thank you for TN thus far. I've loved it.

JBranch said...

I second Josephine (posting as Anonymous above): "I have often been in awe at the time you have given to reviewing and then dealing with dialogues that ensued." My fitful attempts to deal with personal and family projects have kept me from reading as much of your work as I'd wish (i.e., your work on this blog), but I'm glad I'll be able to count on there being work of some kind from you awaiting me when time allows.

Alison Croggon said...

Thank you, all.

Anonymous said...

Having only recently come across this and other reviewing blogs, it would be a great shame personally if this one were to end altogether.

It must take up a lot of time though, so I can understand an urge to back off.

Peter G. James Sinclair said...

Follow your dream Alison. Just like I am at http://www.thecrossandtheswitchblade.net

Anonymous said...

Why don't you invite some other people to contribute semi-regularly, taking the heat off you? One of the big positives of this blog is the ensuing dialogues, so there is obviously quite a community out there who could be tempted to share the writing load a bit. Shame to lose that community entirely.

green ink said...

Hi Alison - I'm a faithful reader but don't leave comments very often (bit naughty, I know!). I just wanted to say that as sad as I would be to see TN cease, it is obvious that there is so much more to you that needs to find its way out into the world, and which is equally deserving of your time and energy. You must do what is right for you, and I wish you nothing but the best, whatever you decide. I hope we won't have heard the last of you, either way! Hope your time away gives you the clarity you're seeking x